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PATRIOT LEAGUE PREVIEW: FORDHAM

by Alex Smith
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Rams Rebuilding Under New Leadership

This is the seventh of seven articles that preview the 2012 Patriot League teams.  They are in the inverse order of the preseason poll voting by Patriot League football head coaches and sports information directors, who did not include their own school in the selections.

Fordham was not included in the poll because it will not be able to compete for the Patriot League championship and NCAA automatic bid in 2012, and its games against League members will not count towards the final standings for either team.

The 2011 edition of the Fordham Rams football team did not find much success. The teams’ only victory came in the annual Liberty Cup game against Columbia. The Rams finished at 1-10, which resulted in a coaching change and a new direction for the program. Joe Moorhead was named head football coach in December, returning to his Alma Mater to lead the Rams in their 2012 campaign.

Moorhead, a former quarterback, has spent the last three years coaching at the University of Connecticut. He will bring with him a focus on the offensive side of the ball. Michael Nebrich, a transfer from UConn, adds some depth to the QB position; however, Ryan Higgins has been named the Rams’ starting quarterback, and he will have plenty of speed surrounding him at the skill positions. Carlton Koonce takes over as the go-to guy out of the backfield. Last season, Koonce rushed for just 77 yards, but was used more often as a slot receiver, catching 38 passes for 309 yards and four touchdowns.  The Rams also return an experienced wide receiving core, including senior captain Blake Wayne, Brian Wetzel, and Greg Wilson amongst others. Sophomore Tight End Dan Light is also coming off of an impressive freshman season. The Rams will feature an up-tempo offensive attack in 2012, which should utilize all of the Rams’ weapons.

Defense was a huge area of concern for Fordham last season. The Rams allowed 33.5 points per game in 2011.  The Rams were unable to stop the run, allowing 255 yards per game on the ground. Last year’s leading tackler Michael Martin returns to anchor the Rams’ linebacking core. The Rams also return the key members of their secondary, including senior Brendan Melanophy and junior Ian Williams.

Special teams should be a specialty for this year’s team. Senior Captain and All-American punter Patrick Murray enters his final season, attempting to follow up a remarkable 2011.  He was named to the 2012 CFPA Punter Award Watch List and is one of the best punters in Fordham football history, averaging 44.1 yards in his collegiate career.

Click on the plug-ins below to hear from Head Coach Joe Moorhead, running back Carlton Koonce, linebacker Michael Martin and tight end Dan Light.

 

 

 

 

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Fordham Head Coach Joe Moorhead Fordham Linebacker Mike Martin Fordham Running Back Carlton Koonce Fordham Tight End Dan Light